recent years, kayaking has become a true craze, ranking right up
there with TikTok dances, government stimulus checks, and those
glorified Lunchables on plywood I can't pronounce called charcuterie
boards. And speaking of unusual pronunciations, before my teenage
daughters got involved with the pastime, I mainly associated the
word "kayak" with a noise our cat makes right before she barfs on
the throw rug.
I honestly don't understand the point of kayaking, other than to
get some rigorous exercise in a contraption guaranteed to give you
soggy shorts. To me, paddling a boat is something you do in an emergency
situation when the motor quits running. And if the lack of a propeller
isn't a warning sign, the life jacket and swimwear requirements
Just a few weeks ago, we spent a Saturday with family at Lake Cherokee
in East Texas, and my
two older daughters effortlessly kayaked on their own across the
lake, probably for the sake of some sweet action selfies
and to avoid answering embarrassing questions from relatives about
their boyfriends' hair styles.
Not to be outdone, and trying to prove that we're still young, hip
and semi-mobile, my wife and I decided to embark on a guided sunset
kayaking excursion with our eldest and most expensive daughter the
following week while vacationing in Orange Beach, Alabama. Since
my wife and I are both novice kayakers, the guide suggested that
we use a tandem kayak he called "the divorce maker."
Although we were amused by the joke, I was immediately concerned
about the narrow dimensions of the kayak. Since I tend to eat shameful
quantities of seafood and key lime pie when I'm on a beach vacation,
I thought I might require a more full-figured watercraft. Nevertheless,
I took my seat in the rear with my wife in the front so that she
could more efficiently sling sea water off her paddles and directly
into my nostrils.
Because I was immediately distracted by the beauty of nature, including
a great blue heron flying directly overhead that was possibly looking
for the men's room, I missed some of the instructions from the guide
about how to steer the kayak properly. As a result, my wife and
I became instant experts at paddling our kayak without actually
After a well-deserved "wife splaining," I eventually got my bearings,
and we frantically paddled out into Perdido Pass to catch up with
our daughter, who was shaking her head and pretending that we were
unknown life forms.
The rest of the excursion was exhilarating as our guide identified
the diverse wildlife and dramatic landscapes around us. At one point,
he drew our attention to a school of small pompano jumping out of
the water right in front of our daughter's kayak, although from
our vantage point at the far rear of the group, he could have told
us they were a herd of amphibious armadillos, and we would've been
none the wiser.
I was so taken by the splendor of God's creation that I almost didn't
notice the crippling pain radiating from every muscle below my eyebrows
as I paddled. Luckily, my wife is in great shape, or I couldn't
have taken my frequent fake-paddle breaks with such discreet confidence.
As we glided toward the shore at the end of the day, our silhouettes
tinted auburn by the sun reclining along the horizon, I reflected
on our adventure and felt a deep contentment from the memories we
made as a family. I was also hopeful that I would someday regain
the ability to lift my arms high enough to scratch.
Although I'm glad I had the kayaking experience, I'll probably leave
it to the youngsters for now. But who knows? Maybe someday I'll
get one of those fancy kayaks with a motor and a storage
area for key lime pie.